To be honest, I never thought that I would develop a hot and sour soup recipe. I have always shunned hot and spicy soups at Chinese restaurants because I don’t think they are truly authentic. Plus, there are plenty of other Chinese soups that I’d rather eat. It wasn’t until I traveled to Thailand and tasted tom yum soup for the first time that I realized how well spicy and sour flavors work together.
This hot and sour coconut noodle soup is inspired by tom yum soup recipes. I used bird’s eye chilies for the soup because I like their bright spice. Your tongue will detect the spiciness, but the chilies won’t numb your tongue like Sichuan peppercorns. The spice also doesn’t linger in the back of your throat. The amount of spice in this dish should be detectable, but won’t set your mouth on fire. If you love spice, feel free to add a few more chilies. Most tom yum soup recipes call for makrut lime leaves, which I know are not easy to get outside of Asian markets. That’s why I’m using lime zest instead. It gives the soup a similar bright citrus flavor.
You’ll notice in the recipe that I listed tofu, snap peas, and carrots as optional add-ins. I want you to pair this coconut noodle soup recipe with whatever vegetables and protein you desire or have on hand. Feel free to experiment with the recipe!
A NOTE ABOUT LEMONGRASS
I love to cook broths with lemongrass because it adds bright flavor. If fresh lemongrass is not easy to find, use 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemongrass paste. Do note that many store-bought lemongrass pastes are not vegan as they often contain dairy.
LOOKING FOR MORE NOODLES?
- Easy Green Curry Noodle Soup
- Pan-Fried Rice Noodles with Fried Egg
- Coconut Curry Noodle Stir Fry with Glazed Tofu
- Sesame and Olive Soba Noodles
- You can also visit my complete noodles archives here.
Hot and Sour Coconut Noodle Soup (Vegan)
- 2 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 1/2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 to 5 bird's eye chili/Thai chili, sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- zest from 2 limes
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 5 to 6 ounces mung bean threads/noodles
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (see note 1)
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 4 to 5 tablespoons lime juice, add more to taste
- 12 to 14 ounces fried tofu, sliced (see note 2)
- 1 large carrot, julienned (see note 3)
- 1 cup snap peas
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Trim off the bottom of the lemongrass stalks and peel the outer leaves (about 2 layers). Slice the stalks in half and discard the thinner, woodier portion. Slice the remaining stalks into 3-inch chunks. Bash the lemongrass with the flat side of your knife or a kitchen mallet. Set the lemongrass aside.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pot with the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and bashed lemongrass chunks and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onions start to soften. Mix in the chiles, ginger, and garlic. Cook for a minute, until the ginger and garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, coriander, and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lime zest and vegetable broth, cover the pot, and bring the broth to boil.
- Reduce the heat a little. Add the noodles and cook them for 5 minutes, partially covered. Add tofu, carrots, and snap peas to the dish, add them to the pot. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the snap peas turn vibrant green and the noodles are fully cooked. Add the coconut milk and scallions and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and mix in the lime juice.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings to your liking, adding more salt or lime juice.
- Serve the noodle soup in bowls. Garnish with sesame seeds if you like.
- Feel free to use light coconut milk for a lighter soup.
- In the photos, I am using fried tofu that I buy from an Asian market. You can press extra firm tofu for 15 to 20 minutes, slice into rectangular pieces and pan fry them over medium-high heat.
- If you don’t want to julienne a carrot, dice it and add the carrots to the pot the same time that you add the tomatoes.
- Variations: You can transform this recipe into a rice soup by adding 3/4 cup of basmati or jasmine rice instead of noodles. You will need to simmer the soup for 15 to 18 minutes to ensure that the rice is fully cooked.